More illnesses linked to E. coli in leafy greens, possibly romaine lettuce

Public advisory

Public advisory- Submitted

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced seven new cases of E. coli infections, all of which seem to linked to leafy greens, in their ongoing investigation of the recent deadly outbreak.

The outbreak of E. coli has made at least 17 people sick in 13 states, including a case in OH, according to the CDC.

Eighteen people have become ill, nine people were hospitalized, and one person died in California.

Still, as of last week, Consumer Reports has been advising consumers to avoid romaine lettuce until we can be certain it is safe to eat.

The CDC's investigation has not identified a specific type, brand, or producer of romaine or any other leafy greens, which Wise says has made it hard to home in on a source.

Numerous sick people reported eating romaine lettuce in various forms from grocery stores, restaurants and other locations.

In the US, the FDA, which had not posted any public information about the outbreak until today, is assisting the CDC, but has virtually nothing to report. Five (56%) of nine ill people specifically reported eating romaine lettuce.

Wendy's has not traced any E. coli infections to its customers and hasn't seen any issues with its supply chain, but decided not to take any risks.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency - which is similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration - tested samples of romaine lettuce as part of the outbreak investigation.

This infection can sometimes develop into a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. "We're working closely with partners to identify that source".

Canada also experienced an outbreak and identified romaine lettuce as the source of illnesses there, but where the romaine lettuce came from or how it became contaminated is unknown. People usually get sick from E. coli O157:H7 three to four days after eating food contaminated with the germ.

Produce trade organizations issued a statement that, as of last week, no public health agency had contacted romaine lettuce growers or processors and asked to stop shipping product.

You can protect yourself by washing your hands thoroughly before and after preparing or eating food. At least 41 people were sickened in that country, with one death. Finally, avoid preparing food when you are sick, particularly if you are sick with diarrhea. If you are concerned that you have an E. coli infection, talk to your healthcare provider. Lettuce can also be contaminated by bacteria during and after harvest. The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients.

For the record, symptoms of E. coli begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria, notes CNN.

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